Warning! Spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings actor Tony Leung has named Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) as his favorite Marvel heroes. The legendary star finally makes his Hollywood debut via the latest MCU Phase 4 blockbuster. He plays the father of Simu Liu’s titular character, Wenwu, also known as the Mandarin.
Leung’s involvement in Shang-Chi was announced all the way back in 2019 at the San Diego Comic-Con, where the project was officially confirmed and Liu was also revealed to be playing the leading role. Aside from the fact that this marks the actor’s first Hollywood endeavor after decades of brilliant performances, his role as the “real” Mandarin was exciting to fans. In 2013, Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 featured a fake version of the character played by Ben Kingsley. In the film, the Mandarin was revealed to be a struggling actor named Trevor Slattery who was hired by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) to be his decoy. The character proved to be one of the most divisive creative decisions from Marvel Studios thus far, so Leung’s arrival as the new Mandarin was highly anticipated.
While doing press for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Leung admitted to being a Marvel fan. In an interview clip shared on Reddit by a user with the handle u/someone8787, the veteran actor briefly discusses his fandom. He reveals that Iron Man and Deadpool are his favorite heroes. Watch the video below:
Leung’s choice of Iron Man as a favorite hero is an interesting one considering the wider Marvel canon. In the comics, the Mandarin is one of Tony Stark’s greatest rivals. Ever since the Ten Rings was introduced in the first Iron Man back in 2008, many have held out hope that the enemies would one day face off against each other on the big screen. Iron Man 3 hinted at this before Kingsley’s Mandarin was discovered to be a ruse, leaving audiences waiting several years before the real Mandarin made his presence known in the MCU. Unfortunately, however, a Mandarin vs Iron Man battle is unlikely, since both characters have now been killed in the Marvel universe. As for Deadpool, who has no connection to Leung’s character, it seems Reynolds’ popular anti-hero has simply made a strong impression on the actor.
With Leung’s character no longer living in the MCU, it will be interesting to see if any further opportunities arise for Leung to reprise his role after the events of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. As with his other projects, the actor does a magnificent job playing the role of Shang-Chi’s grieving father, whose yearning for his wife compells him to do irrational and dangerous things. Whatever the case may be, Wenwu is certainly one of the most beloved antagonists in the franchise.